Monday, December 20, 2021

Bladder Busters!

When the original Ghostbusters movie came out in 1984, it barely made a blip on my interest radar. I do remember my older siblings trying to sell me on this movie about ghosts but I was distracted by my Transformers and G.I.Joes to really care too much. I’m not exactly sure when I finally watched the movie but it was definitely years later when it was available on home video. And while I did like the movie overall, a lot of the more adult centric humor really flew over my head and so it didn’t make too much of a lasting impression on me.

What finally did catch my attention was the Real Ghostbusters cartoon that was based on the movie that came out in 1986. And it was really this show that got me into the whole Ghostbusting franchise. I do remember there being quite a robust toy line based on this cartoon, but for some reason I wasn’t sold on it. While I loved the show a lot, I pretty much ignored the toys.

Anyway fast forward to years later in 2009 and when I had since become a full fledged adult toy collector living in Singapore. While I originally started out as just a Transformer collector, it was here in Singapore that I found myself branching out into other toy lines. And it was during a rare lull in releases of new toys that I was itching to try something new. And it was a new toy line by Mattel based on the original Ghostbusters movie that eventually got my interest.

While Mattel’s Ghostbusters line was based on the live action movie and not the cartoon, by this time I had grown to love and appreciate the movie so much more that I was perfectly content to get some live action plastic representations of Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, Winston Zeddemore for my collection. Despite being a little late to the party, it wasn’t very difficult to find these guys on the secondary market for a cheap price. And I had quite an adventure getting myself a couple of these Ghostbusters that I’d like to share.

As I said earlier, at this time I was living in Singapore and so I found a seller on Ebay who had a couple of the Ghostbusters (I forgot which ones). Anyway we struck up a deal after which I expected us to work out a meeting place located midway between his place and mine. To my surprise, the seller was rather strict with his terms. He insisted that I go to his place, which was located on the opposite side of SIngapore from where I was, and instead of a weekend, he insisted on a specific day during the week. I found this rather odd since all of the other sellers I previously dealt with were usually very friendly and accommodating. Anyway, despite his terms, I figured it was worth the trouble since his selling price was quite good.

So if you haven’t been to Singapore, like most first world countries, getting around isn’t very difficult. Despite being rather far from my place, this just meant a longer ride on the MRT. And since he insisted on meeting up on a weekday I had to go after work. So I set off for the buyer’s place around past 5pm and after a 45+ minute ride on the train, I finally arrived at the station nearest to his place…which didn’t turn out to be very near…maybe about a 10-15 minute walk. Anyway by this time it was already dark and I had a rather difficult time finding his place. See in Singapore most people live in Gov’t housing or HDB’s. And for the most part a lot of them share similar designs to each other. So there I was in an unfamiliar part of Singapore looking for a specific building in the middle of a cluster of buildings that all looked alike. It was quite frustrating and the directions that the seller gave me didn’t seem to help much. Aside from this though…I had another major problem arising.

Ok so I have a small bladder. As in, I am constantly in need of a bathroom almost every hour or so. And before you start saying I need to go to a doctor, I have, and there is nothing wrong with me. Apparently small bladders run in my family and so yeah…my bladder was full…painfully full. I needed to take a piss…badly. Unfortunately I was walking around a completely residential area and there were no commercial establishments or stores nearby where I could relieve myself. Finding a dark corner to pee was also not an option since the area was very brightly lit (and really you’re asking for a whole lot of trouble if you try peeing in public in Singapore). Anyway, I finally found the seller’s place and he met me down at the ground floor. By this time I was DYING….I was so desperate I sheepishly asked him if I could go up to his place to use his bathroom. Imagine! I was so desperate that I asked a complete stranger to allow me into his place to use the toilet! You can imagine how embarrassed I was but I was that desperate.

Fortunately, the guy made a quick look around and then pointed at a portalet in the distance that I had not seen prior. Apparently there was some construction work going on in the next building so they had set up a temporary toilet in the vicinity. I swear at that moment I saw a beam of light shine down on the silver portalet (ok maybe it was gray) and angels sang in a chorus of songs. I handed over my money to the guy, got my Ghostbusters and ran to relieve myself! And finally made my way back home. Mission accomplished! Talk about nearly busting my bladder for some Ghostbusters!

Anyway aside from the whole peeing incident, I did find it odd how this particular seller was quite…unfriendly with me. So I looked up his profile to see other people’s reviews of their interactions with him. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary until I realized that I had contacted him before! Apparently I offered to buy another toy from him a few months back but I backed out last minute. So while it’s not confirmed, he might have recognized me as that schmuck who backed out on him on a previous deal so lesson learned. Honor your deals on Ebay everybody!

So after I got my 4 Ghostbusters I called it a day and that was that…..NOT. As always, in a year’s time I amassed a sizable Ghostbusters collection, which included Dana Barett which was a pricey SDCC exclusive, as well as Louis Tully and Walter Peck who were on clearance, so it kinda balanced out nicely. And finally, I found a real cool vinyl 11” Stay Puft Marshmallow Man coin bank to be the centerpiece of my collection!

Ultimately though, after a few years, with the Mattel line basically dead, I decided to call it a day with my Ghostbusters collection and I managed to sell most of them for a decent profit (unfortunately there were no takers for Dana, Louis and Walter as of yet). And I figured that was it….until it wasn’t.

In 2020, Hasbro acquired the rights to Ghostbusters and started their own 6” line of action figures under the Plasma series banner. Now while the original Mattel versions were quite good for their time, Hasbro basically blew them out of the water, sporting improved articulation and sculpting and topped off with really nice photo real face printing for a closer likeness to the original actors. This new line was supposed to coincide with the new Ghostbuster: Afterlife movie. But when COVID delayed the release of the movie, the new line came out with little to no fanfare.

For my part, I didn't go for them initially because I felt I had already closed that collecting chapter. But I was tempted. In the end I figured that since they weren’t exactly flying off the store shelves it wouldn’t be long until they would be available on clearance. And I was right.

Here in the Philippines, it’s become a regular practice for the two largest online retailers (think Amazon) Shopee and Lazada to have major sales during specific days of every month, like a10:10 Sale on October 10, 11:11 Sale on November 11…well you get the idea. So on the 12:12 sale in December I finally caved. I managed to find the entire first wave, which consisted of the four main Ghostbusters, Dana Barett, Zuul and a build-a-figure Terror Dog on clearance!.

But of course it didn’t stop there. I also found the SDCC Exclusive Louis Tully which came with another Terror Dog (cuz you know you always need two terror dogs!) which was also on sale in a local toy store. Basically if you compare the total SRP price of all these items to what I actually did pay for them on clearance, I almost got everything to close to half off! So yeah…yay me!

Anyway, I haven’t seen the new movie yet so the jury is still out if I’ll even go beyond what I currently have, but I am still on the lookout for a new Marshmallow Man and possibly Slimer. Unfortunately the vinyl Marshmallow Man Coin bank coin bank is now selling for crazy prices on the secondary market (the cheapest on selling at over $100)….so I may go down the 3D print route this time around.

Quick update: I actually found what looks to be the same vinyl Marshmallow Man coin bank on Shopee for about PhP 1300 or $25! Even if this is some sort of cheap knock off, I’m pretty sure it’ll be just fine for display purposes. And just to be sure I have it on COD so just in case it turns out too good to be true!

And so there you go. I guess I’m back to collecting Ghostbusters again.